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Internet Safety of Kids

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Let's start with the good news. You can consider the Internet as a global treasure that opens limitless opportunities for each user: to learn the smallest historical detail from the history just in a couple of minutes research, to look works of art completely for free, to read the great scientific works ... and much more. Will your child look for similar information? Will he look for interesting questionnaires, play educational games, in general, absorb up-to-date information for his age?

The answer to this question depends on you, parent, in most cases. Of course, you can’t protect yourself and your child from all things. But forewarned is forearmed – the best prospect for the family.

Why does a child have an acute need for internet surfing?

You might think because he is open to science, art and creative aspects, yeah? It would be desirable, but it is not quite true. According to statistics from the Guide to Internet Safety:

• starting at 3 years old, child simply becomes an active user of resources with cartoons and games, besides he finds all by his own without any help need;

• nearly 70 percent of teens in the US use Facebook, not to mention other social networks;

• 72 percent of children play interactive games;

• Nearly 50 percent of teens like to share their photos.

It follows that the child free time is in excess, so the child can spend up to 8 hours a day on searching through the internet including the views of groups, social pages, and playing games.

As Pew Research Center report found have shown via statistics, 57 percent of children making friends through the internet. At the same time, the teenager can consider as a friend the other person, whom he has not seen, or has seen a couple of times.

Since children and teens are growing with technology progress, such process of building online friendship seems to them perfectly. The parents should not reduce the value of such online friends, as a teen often goes to him for advice, which can not be given by the real friends or relatives. Any variation of communication is important for a teenager, so all that remains to parents is to offer the real meeting of a person who is on the other side of the screen. It is quite possible that it will grow into a strong and valuable relationship.

If you have any doubt about the fact that this man is a real person – first try to analyse his account. If this person has the same age as your teen, the page will probably contain different check-ins, photos, "like" on other accounts, which are more fully disclose the identity. If not, there can be a common problem – cyber-bulling.

Cyber-bulling is not only kids’ problem. It’s yours too allocated definitional features of the child's behavior during the active cyber-bulling. Just try to remember and make a puzzle of a whole picture. As practice showed, the girls are more exposed to such process because of the sensitivity and hurtfulness.

If you notice that your child:

  • spends a lot of hours of video chatting,
  • has frequent difficult sleeping,
  • speaks about nightmares,
  • often looks depressed at home,
  • does not receive pleasure from the use of familiar social apps and games,
  • and at the end, he is trying to avoid the usage of any device, then you should think seriously about it.

Cyberbullying can happen completely to anyone. It implies the sending angry texts using instant messengers and comments. This leads to the fact that many girls are asking "why me?", "What's wrong with me," and so on, plummeting the self-esteem in a significant manner. You can see the increasing of confusion and sadness.

Boys while cyber-bulling often show their fear, because text messages contain most frequently threats. They become more vulnerable, prickly answering your questions, refuse to go to school. As mentioned, forewarned – is forearmed. Such cyber attacks in extreme cases led the unstable emotional teens to suicide and violence.

Do not forget that you can be on the other side of the fence. Your child may not be the object of attack, but the person who uses the cyber-bullying for its purpose. You can immediately see the behavior expression with increased aggression, frustration, sadness, embarrassment. Thus, boys are showing their aggression, while girls are spread rumors in such ugly way.

How can you affect the internet safety of your kid?

Every parent knows how important the own space to any teenager. So the question arises - is it possible to accurately and without pressure to protect the kid from possible problems, keeping his personal interests?

A few simple rules can faithfully help you:

  • Become a follower and read your kid in all social networks. Firstly, you will always be up to date. Secondly, the child will filter the content and think before posting everything into the network.
  • Tell your child that on unknown sites it is better not to log in with the social accounts, because all the personal information, which is in the public domain, will be transmitted.
  • Adjust kid’s privacy settings, starting with the device (uncheck the automatic location). Open the privacy settings on social profiles, and then restrict access from unknown users. Show your kids how to block the cyber-attackers, remove the ability to search for your child's account by entering a phone number or e-mail.
  • Also, open all applications settings, restricting access to the information as much as possible. Explain to your kid that the owners of third-party applications can use the personal information in their favor (starting from fraud, bank credits, intimidation and manipulation via cyber-attacks).
  • Do not forget to view the history of usage the social accounts. It shows which device was used in the certain location. If you notice unfamiliar device and location, then change your password and notify the support team about trying to hack your account.
  • Practice good online safety habits with STOP.THINK.CONNECT. tips and advice.

If you want to manage as much as possible information, so Android and iOS devices allow you to set the "Parental Control" – a feature that let you keep in mind the visited sites, block various applications, track the location, and so on.

You can create a special user for the child in the browsers, which will allow you to check the visiting history. Considering all the tricks, please, pay your attention, that such total management can cause anger indignation of the teens over 14 years old.

The best thing parent can do to a child to protect him from a variety of online threats, is to pronounce the safety rules and the possible effects. Learn to trust each other in such a complex world!

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.